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Dine and Die

 
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Dine & Die

LEO CAPPÈL

A SHORT WHODUNIT PLAY WITH AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION, COMMISSIONED TO BE PRODUCED IN A RESTAURANT.

Copyright by Leo Cappèl 2007

First produced at the Mansion House Restaurant,

Kawau Island, 1 December 2007

Leo Cappèl

98B Paramount Parade

Tikipunga

Whangarei 0112

NEW ZEALAND

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Table of Contents

Cast

The Stage

Props

The play

CAST

JOHN Widower, about 75. Tries to build himself a make-believe world. Still very interested in women.

 

LINDA John’s landlady. Somewhat younger, maybe 60. Widow, content with her settled life, likes ballroom dancing. Feels sorry for John.

 

JAMES Himself.

 

RUTH Herself.

 

ADAM Known to be an ambulance man or medical man, not on duty, in the audience.

 

PETER In the audience.

 

WAITRESS Known as a regular waitress at the restaurant.

 

TWO OR THREE ‘UNDERCOVER GUESTS’, MINGLING WITH THE REGULAR GUESTS TO ASSIST WITH THE FINAL DELIBERATIONS.

 

THE STAGE

A corner of the restaurant, adjacent to the restaurant kitchen. Cardboard boxes are stacked everywhere. A table and four chairs. Several letters and papers scattered all over the table.

 

PROPS

Bundle of letters

Letters to be read aloud

Two glasses, bottle of water

Glass of paste, made of ‘baking soda’ in water

Photo of young woman

Bowl of chips

Box of letters

3 Trophies in large box

Camera in box

Large room-divider screen

Cell phone

 

THE PLAY

 

 

ENTER JOHN AND LINDA FROM KITCHEN.

 

JOHN: Oh, for God’s sake, Linda, let’s forget about our argument. Not in front of everybody. We’re on stage now, you’re supposed to be my landlady.

 

LINDA: Well, you started it, as usual.

 

JOHN: I didn’t.

 

LINDA: You did so.

 

JOHN: I did not. You accused me of running after that woman.

 

LINDA: Well, you did!

 

JOHN: I did not!

 

PETER, FROM THE HOUSE: Stop it, you two. We came here to see a play, not to hear you squabbling.

 

JOHN: Sorry.

 

LINDA: Oh, OK, sorry about that. But you, John, just wait till we get home!

 

EXIT LINDA, SHE SLAMS THE DOOR BEHIND HER.

 

JOHN: Yeah, and the same to you too! ( – - – ) Hmm. The play.

 

JOHN SITS DOWN AT THE TABLE, PUTS A LETTER INTO AN ENVELOPE.

 

JOHN: That’s the last one of this batch. I better take them to the post office this afternoon.

 

LINDA ‘KNOCKS ON THE DOOR’.

 

JOHN: Yeah.

 

ENTER LINDA. SHE HAS A BUNDLE OF LETTERS IN HER HAND.

 

JOHN: Come on, Linda, you don’t need to knock, not in your own home!

 

LINDA: Of course I knock, it’s your room now. When my hubby was still alive he always said you should respect people’s privacy. ‘Privacy is the thing,’ he always said. Never mind, here’s your mail. Beats me how much mail you get, people must like you.

 

JOHN: I suppose ( – - – ) yeah, I like to stay in touch with people.

 

LINDA: Then you should make them welcome here too. Say, don’t you want to make it look like a real home? You know, John, with all those boxes standing around, your friends won’t come and see you. They just won’t.

 

JOHN: They might. And anyway, one of these days I may have to move into a bigger place again.

 

LINDA: A bigger place? Why? I thought you had moved in to stay. Don’t you like it here?

 

JOHN: Of course I like it here, don’t get me wrong. I love it here. Only one day I might find a new lady friend and then I’d have to move into a bigger place anyway. I bet you wouldn’t allow me to have a lady friend in here, would you?

 

LINDA: A lady friend? You? Aren’t you a bit old for that?

 

JOHN: Old? I’m only seventy five, what’s wrong with that?

 

LINDA: Nothing, just that you’re no longer a young man, John. You aren’t, you know. Only seventy five, you say, well, then you should get more exercise. Go for a walk in the park or something. I tell you, if you’re not careful the next place you’ll be moving into would be the rest home.

 

JOHN: No way! Live among all those old fogies? You must be joking! I may look a bit old, just a little, but inside I’m still a young man. And I still love women.

 

LINDA, ASIDE: Yeah, in real life as well, not just in this play! You keep your hands to yourself, you ( – - – )

 

JOHN: All women, as long as they’re young enough to love men.

 

LINDA: You silly old goat!

 

JOHN: That’s what my old lady used to call me too. She used to tease me that I would go and look for another woman straight after her funeral.

 

LINDA: And did you?

 

JOHN: Heck no! Look Linda, I still miss her. I really miss her, even after all that time, so I thought if I find someone else now, maybe I can get back to normal. Is that so bad?

 

LINDA: I’m sorry, John.

 

***

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Dine and Die

“Dine and Die” is a ‘who-done-it’ play written specifically to be produced at a restaurant dinner party. During the short play Linda is murdered. The murder weapon: French fries fried in peanut oil. (Linda is allergic to peanuts).The audience have to identify the murderer. The cast of the play proper: JOHN, widower, about 75. LINDA, John's landlady. JAMES, guest, from the audience. RUTH, guest, from the audience. WAITRESS, one of the regular waitresses at the restaurant. After the ‘murder’ : ADAM, known to be an ambulance man, from the audience PETER, from the audience Two or three ‘UNDERCOVER GUESTS’, in the audience. I was commissioned to write this play for the Mansion House Restaurant, Kawau Island. It turned out so popular, the restaurant had to add another 50 seats on the adjoining terrace, and it was a huge success. “Dine and Die” was advertised as a regular play. The roles of John, Linda, James and Ruth were taken by well-known experienced actors. Fortunately the Waitress was a keen amateur actress who fitted her minor role perfectly. When near the end of the play Linda suddenly collapses, Adam comes up out of the audience. He examines Linda and announces she was murdered. Up to that moment the audience had no inkling whatsoever it was a ‘who-done-it’ play. Linda, suddenly alive and well again, announces a competition to decide who the murderer was. To insure nobody would guess it was not a regular play, the original title was a common New Zealand expression: “Ladies, a plate please”

  • ISBN: 9781310455414
  • Author: Leo Cappel
  • Published: 2015-11-19 00:05:07
  • Words: 4822
Dine and Die Dine and Die